Friday, September 28, 2018

High Five for Friday (9.28.18)

Last Thursday night Will's intermediate school held its first Spirit Night of the Farmhouse Creamery, the best ice cream shop in our area. What a treat it was, not just to indulge in this delicious ice cream, but to feel like I had no choice but to indulge in this delicious ice cream. Anything for the schools, I always say...

In preparation for this week's television season and series premieres, Tom took one for the team and spent part of his Friday at Suddenlink (*shudder*) trading in our DVR box for an updated version with increased recording and storage capacities. He knows the way to my heart. 😍

On Sunday afternoon Tom and I went on a date to the Sprint store to upgrade Will's phone for his upcoming birthday. We wrapped up at Sprint relatively quickly, so we extended our date with a stop at the new HEB for a slice of freshly made pizza and a beer in their cafe. Best.Date.Ever.

On Tuesday night two friends and I said "to hell with our parental and wifely responsibilities!" and drove to Houston to see IMOMSOHARD's Mom's Night Out: Round 2. We had a wonderful time (and stayed out entirely too late), which was exactly what we needed.

Boosterthon has wrapped! (Or Boosterthon will have wrapped as of 3pm this afternoon.) Our family has participated in and I have helped run this fundraiser six times over, and while I'm ready to move on, I also feel a little sentimental about bidding farewell to the enthusiastic Boosterthon team members we get to know each year and the fun we always have on our run days.
Year 1: this is the only pic I have of Will and me from
our first Boosterthon. (Oh how I miss my dark hair...) 
Year 1: 4yo Hallie cheering for her brother.
Year 2: I remembered to take pics with the kids that year!
Year 2: Kindergarten Hallie was so nervous, I think
because she didn't know/couldn't remember what to
expect or what was expected of her. She ended up
having a great time and running all 35 laps though!
Year 3: Perhaps my favorite Boosterthon pic of all time because
in addition to capturing fun run day spirit, it captures the very
different relationships that exist between these four friends.
Year 4: Boosterthon team members certainly
know how to have fun and motivate kids! 
Year 4: Sweet friends after an enthusiastic run!
Year 4: Will's grade earned a color run his
last year in elementary school - it was a blast!
Year 4: Nothing like color run dust sticking to the sweat
covering every inch of your body... Great friends though!
Year 5: Sweet friends after another year's run!
Year 5: It takes a dedicated team to make this event happen!

Last but not least (and in case you need a laugh today), an embarrassing Boosterthon picture of me:
Children running. Parents watching. Erin (in
light blue shirt) dancing like nobody's watching.

Happy Friday, Chasing Roots!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Budding Photog

Every summer for the last three years, Hallie and a friend have taken a class through the College Station Parks and Recreation Department. I can't remember the name of the class they took two years ago but I remember they enjoyed it, which is why last year they took - and LOVED - Kitchen Chemistry. This past summer they wanted to take Photography in Nature, but as (bad, at the time) luck would have it, Photography in Nature filled up more quickly than we anticipated and the girls opted for their second choice - Creative in Nature - instead. Because we felt badly for missing the boat on their first choice, Hallie's friend's mom and I bought the girls disposable cameras so they could make Creative in Nature feel a little more like Photography in Nature. As (then good) luck would have it, Creative in Nature turned out to be the "BEST CLASS EVER" and the camera an added bonus: they had a blast taking pictures of everything they encountered on their daily nature walks, the art projects they made using natural elements, and their new friends.

Yes, these pictures were taken using a shockingly poor quality disposable film camera and by an embryonic photographer. But what a beautiful gift for me to immerse myself in this tangible representation of how my budding photographer views the world.
A test shot of Tux. Doesn't it look like she took this photo in 1982?!
Avery took a picture of Hallie on Hallie's camera and
Hallie took a picture of Avery on Avery's camera. 
Watching the sun erase the shade on an early morning nature hike.
Wondering where the path leads.
Stopping by for a visit in the birds' neighborhood.
Visiting with friends from Creative in Nature camp.
I took this picture of Hallie using the last few pictures on her camera
before taking the film to be developed. (Speaking of, did you know that
it now takes a week and costs $18 to get a roll of film developed?!)
Her version...
...and my version. I think I like hers better.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday Mash-Up

After the craziness of last week and the expected craziness of this week (we're midway through our Boosterthon fundraiser at Hallie's elementary school), I decided to go with a simpler - for me - but still fun compilation post today. I hope this collection of articles, videos, and pictures provides you with whatever you need today, whether that be an emotional pick-me-up, a mental reset, an authentic laugh, or reassurance that kindness and generosity are still all around us. 

Sign language interpreters "working" concerts = one of my favorite categories of videos. This one does not disappoint!

Remember "The Wave" tradition that takes place at Kinnick Stadium during Iowa Hawkeye home football games? A couple of weeks ago, Pat Green at halftime performed the song "Wave on Wave" with the Hawkeye and Northern Iowa University Panther marching bands. This movement just keeps getting better and better.

Survivor the kitten makes it out alive after being trapped by Hurricane Florence flooding.

These five sailors - members of the United States Navy and Navy Band who, as a fivesome, are known as The Sideboys - would make The Four Seasons proud.

Never stop dancing.

This video of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band marching at halftime during the Clemson game is SO much better than the video I posted a couple of weeks ago.

This teeny, tiny baker's cooking show is precious. (Reminds me of Hallie...)

This musical feat of engineering is mesmerizing.

If this video doesn't make you want your child to be in this teacher's fourth grade class (or be in this teacher's fourth grade class yourself), I don't know what will.

Touching Strangers. "You have to reach out and physically touch people to bridge the gap between us. To let them feel that love is real." (Nelson Mandela paraphrased by Cory Booker)

Does your son or daughter love to play Fortnight? If so, you'll find this video of two moms lip-syncing to a game of Fortnight amazing.

Watch this piano prodigy - who also happens to be just a little girl - write an original sonata (based on four notes chosen for her) in less than a minute. I admit to watching this one quite a few times...

If these resourceful men would stop by my house and build me a swimming pool - using just their hands and the materials they find in my backyard - I would great appreciate it.

And this young man's handmade well?! A true feat of engineering.

This collaboration between the Indigo Girls - performing "Closer to Fine" - and the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra is everything I hoped it would be and more.

I have long loved clogging. This clogging dance team reminded me why.

I wish I lived closer to this "pay it forward" pizza shop.

Try not to laugh - to the point of tears - your way through this video of two parents trying to teach their son to drive.

The "Good Cemeterian".

I'll end here, with this video that can only be described as pure joy, beauty, and love.

Friday, September 21, 2018

High Five for Friday (9.21.18)

On Saturday evening friends and I celebrated another lovely friend's birthday with wine and dinner and bundt cake at Messina Hof Winery. She always chooses this series of activities for her special day, probably because it makes for a delightful evening honoring both her and our favorite beverage.

Boosterthon has begun! This is my sixth time helping run this fundraiser, and while I love it, I can't help but rejoice just a little that this is also my final time (because this is Hallie's last year in elementary school) helping run this fundraiser. Mama is tired.

Someone affiliated with Will's intermediate school (an artistically-gifted parent, I assume) spruced up the doors of the bathroom stalls. 😍

I generally have quite a few stacks of paperwork, bills, magazines, advertisements, coupons, etc. on or around my desk. I know what each stack contains and I work through them every week, but I needed a slightly better system to keep everything contained so I added a few new standing files and a basket on top of the filing cabinet, and then repainted my pencil/pen holder to match the dark bluish green color I used on the Texas Love canvas. The changes are small, but I love the new(ish) look and slightly increased productivity associated with the space!

Happiness Highlights 
Big kitty in a little box.
Came across this new book at
a school book fair and fell in love.
Hallie's "dance family" for the 2018-2019 year.
Last week I found this poster of Will's on the wall
in his science classroom and my heart skipped a beat.
He hates projects, especially those that include an artistic
component, so I have helped him through every single one
he's ever been assigned...except this one. And I love it -
he used bubble letters and different colors and photos
and even drew a picture.
Last Friday night Hallie and I watched Father of the Bride - me
for the first time in 15+ years and her for the first time ever. 
My grocery store started carrying a few new salad mixes and
I've found that divided in two they make great lunches!

Happy Friday, Chasing Roots!

Linking up with High Five for Friday here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Few Words Wednesday: Breathe

Breathe, my friend. 
You are not old, you are young. 
You are not a mess, you are normal. 
Extraordinary, perhaps. 
In the blink of an eye your life will change. 
And it will continue to change for decades to come. 
Enjoy it, embrace it... 
Be grateful for the ride. 
You are not old, you are young. 
And faith will get you everywhere. 
Just you wait.

~ Abby Larson

Monday, September 17, 2018

Texas Bucket List: Whoop

My Texas Bucket List began taking shape shortly after we arrived in College Station. At first the list consisted of only a few touristy day trips and experiences (think Six Flags, SeaWorld, etc.) I'd thought of or heard about prior to our move. But as we made new friends, especially new friends who grew up in Texas, we learned from them about the lesser-known - at least to Midwesterners - but not-to-miss sights and sounds of the Lone Star State.

Each time I cross something off my Texas Bucket List I document it here, both because Chasing Roots serves as my Texas journal and because looking back on these posts and "watching" our love affair, if you will, with our now-home state unfold is a beautiful thing. 

You can see my full - but ever-growing - Texas Bucket List here. Feel free to let me know what I'm still missing!

The first two experiences added to my Texas Bucket List were "watch a TAMU football game from the stands at Kyle Field" and "watch the Fighting' Texas Aggie Band perform live". It took seven-and-a-half years, but at the end of August we finally put checkmarks next to both.

TAMU gave faculty members an opportunity to purchase affordable tickets for the TAMU vs. Northwestern State University game. We considered buying four tickets and taking the kids, but in the end decided we would take the kids another time and attend the game just the two of us. We cleared our evening, lined up a babysitter for Hallie/companion for Will, pulled out our maroon attire,  and headed to Kyle Field.

Despite the fact that the game kicked off at 7:30pm, it was - we were - HOT. We walked 3/4 of a mile from our car to the stadium, wandered around the grounds, watched the Corps march in, and then walked another (what seemed like) 3/4 of a mile UP to our seats, so by the time we finally sat down in row 31 of section 350, we were drenched. Turns out it was still 96 degrees with a "feels like" temperatures of 102 degrees at 8:30pm.

The steamy weather didn't squelch our fun though. We ate hotdogs and drank soda, sang the National Anthem, took pictures of the flyover, and joined in the yells. I enjoyed watching Reveille lead the team onto the field before kickoff, and I loved the tradition of the Corps firing a canon every time the Aggies scored. The crowd volume, while not the loudest I've heard in a football stadium, impressed me, and the 12th Man student section and 12th Man on the field (a walk-on player wearing the number 12 jersey for the first play of the game) traditions tugged at my emotions. The football game itself was one of the most boring I've ever watched*, but the Aggies came out ahead and we had a great time cheering them on to victory.

* The first half alone took more than two hours because there were SO MANY television timeouts, regular timeouts, reviews, and penalties. At one point Tom turned to me and acknowledged that he had really come to appreciate soccer for how it allows - even requires - players to just PLAY the game. I actually felt bad for the Aggie and NWS players because the television broadcasting "powers that be" and referees kept either team from ever finding any momentum on the field.   

The best part of the night, however, was - by far - watching the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band march at halftime. The TAMU Corps of Cadets is the largest military marching band in the United States, and while many people had told me there was nothing like watching this massive band perform live, I had my doubts; the Aggie Band only performs traditional marches, which I thought sounded somewhat anticlimactic coming in behind 80s medleys and animated marching formations. I could not have been more wrong in my assessment.

According to an article in The Battalion student newspaper, "some of the Aggie band's maneuvers are so complex that drill-charter software says the drills are impossible because they require multiple people to be in the same place at the same time". I could see from the moment the Aggie Band took its first synchronized step that its maneuvers - obliques, flanks, countermarches, crisscrosses, continuous countermarks, and minstrel turns (confession: I had to look every single one of those up) - were some of the most difficult ever attempted by a marching band. The space between band members during some of these maneuvers is six inches or less, even for those who play large instruments, and they were never, and I mean NEVER, out of step or off their lines. I have never seen a band march with such incredible precision.

The verdict? Watching Aggie football at Kyle Field, especially under the lights? Not a bad way to spend a Thursday evening. Watching the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band perform their halftime routine? The BEST way to spend a Thursday evening.